Thursday, September 24, 2009

Emanuel Mayben In Trouble

Binghamton's star point guard Emanuel Mayben has been charged with possessing and selling cocaine. Mayben led the team in assists and three-point shooting last season, and was second in scoring, and was expected to be a key cog in this year's attempt at a repeat America East title for the Bearcats. It's not clear at this point whether Mayben will definitely be gone from the team, but I'll keep tabs on it, and I'd be surprised if he's not off the team unless the police have completely messed up here.

Certainly this story will feed into the criticism that Binghamton has gotten with the way that they've developed their basketball program, effectively becoming the poor man's Memphis: bringing in the kids with poor academics, bad character and legal troubles that other schools don't want. People at the school, for the most part, are responding the way that is typical of situations like this: those that don't particularly care about basketball are upset that the school's reputation is being tarnished, while those who do care about basketball are in general saying that the benefit from the basketball success will bring enough positive money, enrollment and attention to outweigh any negative benefits of having some bad apples on the team. It remains to be seen how those opinions will change now that Binghamton has their first real legal problem with one of those kids. If more players from the team go down with troubles then we can only expect the criticism of the team to take off.

From a pure basketball perspective, this builds onto what I said back in April, which is that while Binghamton is probably the most talented team in the America East, I believe that Binghamton will falter under the high expectations and will finish behind Vermont. Certainly one way that teams falter under high expectations is that they get themselves in trouble, although it's certainly not the only way, or the way that I was necessarily expecting for Binghamton. But either way, this clearly doesn't change my opinion that Binghamton is not the favorite to win the America East this season. Of course, they'll get their chance soon to prove that I might be wrong when they get their shot at a weakened Pitt team on November 17th.

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